The mission management team chair has given a “go” to proceed with tanking the rocket for the Artemis I wet dress rehearsal test, pending resolution of an issue with an outage at an off-site vendor of gaseous nitrogen used inside the rocket before propellant loading. While a similar issue with a supplier of gaseous nitrogen was experienced during a previous test attempt April 4, teams expect the supply to be reestablished shortly. Following resolution of the issue, the launch director will give the “go” to officially begin the tanking process. Meteorologists with Space Launch Delta 45 said there were no weather constraints for the test.
Tanking begins with chilling down the liquid oxygen lines for the core stage. In sequential fashion, liquid oxygen (LOX) and liquid hydrogen (LH2) will flow into the into the rocket’s core stage tank and be topped off and replenished as some of cryogenic propellant boils off. The team also will conduct leak checks to ensure propellant loading is proceeding as expected. Only minimal cryogenic operations are being conducted on the interim cryogenic propulsion stage because of an issue with a helium check valve found several days ago which cannot be fixed at the launch pad. Teams will chill down the lines used to load propellant into the upper stage but not flow any actual propellant to the stage.
NASA is streaming live video of the rocket and spacecraft at the launch pad on the Kennedy Newsroom YouTube channel. Venting may be visible during tanking operations. NASA is also sharing live updates on the Exploration Ground Systems Twitter account.